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International Movement Stirs Here

Dominican Young Adult Movement Gains Footing in USA

MADISON, WI – July 7, 2008 – There is a movement afoot and it might be dangerous. Dangerous to the idea that young people are only interested in iPods, IPhones, iTunes and well, anything else that begins with "I".

DYA board
BACK: Barry Reinholz, AJ Vivian, Kevin Sullivan, Dan Breitfeller Middle Row: Rachel DeBruin, Kate Craig, Amanda Zurface Front (Kneeling): Michelle Shultz, Sean Mundy

During the weekend of June 19-22, nineteen young adults and five other members of the Dominican Family gathered at Edgewood College to take the next steps in bringing to life Dominican Young Adults USA. 

The meeting was held in conjunction with the Dominican Colloquium.

Dominican young adult movement groups (DYAM) exist in many parts of the Dominican family around the world.  Dominican Young Adults USA (DYA/USA)  was established last year at Ohio Dominican University, Columbus, OH. DYA world headquarters are in Santa Sabina.

"There is a great need in our culture today for young adults to not only preach, but live God's love to those around them. By the grace and love of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, in the charism of St. Dominic, DYA/USA seeks to minister to that need," said Barry Reinholz, ODU student and  DYA board member.

During the weekend, several Dominicans offered valuable input and material that supported the group in their work.  Jan Schlichting, OP (Akron) began the weekend by deepening the group’s awareness and knowledge of the four pillars of Dominican Life. Terry Rickard, OP, (Blauvelt) Director of Renew International, highlighted the necessary components of  small groups and gave them the tools they will need to begin their formation. Luke LaTour, OP (St. Martin) extolled the “Preaching Of and In Our Lives” emphasizing the need to know who you are when you preach.

Later on that evening, the participants gathered to hear about a project that Flor de Buruca, OP has begun in El Salvador. A group of villagers in El Salvador had been displaced from their homes. They worked together to raise awareness about the injustices being committed and helped raise money so that a church could be built for their community.

Saturday morning began with  formalizing membership. Seventeen young adults proclaimed aloud  to the group, in a formal commitment, their desire and willingness to be members of DYA/USA. The other Dominicans  present promised their support. It was a powerful experience for every one.

Louise Phelps, Edgewood College student said, "The fact that we were all able to come together in the name of Jesus, establish ourselves as the United States representatives of the International Dominican Youth Movement, and have so much fun in the process is just amazing! Through our commitment to each other, this organization, and the Dominican charism, we will be able to do truly great things for our world."

The work of organization was a major focus of the time together and the group approved a vision and mission statement and governmental structures. In true Dominican fashion they reviewed the documents scrupulously until they felt it spoke to their identity. Almost two hours later they unanimously approved the needed documents.

The group elected the following officers:  
President, Kevin Sullivan, Edgewood College alumni
Executive Vice-President, Kate Craig, Edgewood College
Vice President of Communications, Michelle Schultz, Dominican University
Vice President of Finance, Sean Mundy, St. Thomas Aquinas College
Chair of Formation/New Membership, Dan Breitfeller, Ohio Dominican University
Chair of Dominican Mission, Rachel DeBruin, Edgewood College
Chairperson of Social Justice Committee, Amanda Zurface, Ohio Dominican University
At Large Board Member, A.J. Vivian, St. Louis University;
At Large Board Member, Barry Reinholtz, Ohio Dominican University

The board’s  most immediate task is to submit the needed material to the international DYA offices to establish a US chapter. This will allow DYA/USA to participate in the International meeting of Dominican Young Adults which will be held in Portugal, 2009.

Regional groups met  to discuss the growth of existing  DYA chapters. Other groups  met to begin the process of forming new DYA chapters on their campuses.  The hope is to have DYA chapters in New York at St. Thomas Aquinas College and  Molloy College,  Ohio Dominican University, Dominican University, River Forest, IL, Barry University, Miami, FL; Purdue University, IN; and St. Louis University, St. Louis, MO.

Kevin Sullivan, Edgewood College Alumni, and DYA President, said, "My hope for DYA in the next year is that the local chapters become more established and begin to grow.  Now, we are primarily at Dominican colleges and universities. In the future as members graduate and move, my hope is that they will establish new chapters of DYA.  Growth will be nice but is secondary to the four pillars and social justice issues which are central to everyone in the Dominican Family."

“We  hope  to invite other young adults who are Dominican by their formation in Dominican high schools, colleges, universities, parishes and other Dominican experiences, to join DYA and continue their connection with the Order,” said Gina Fleming, OP (Amityville) Executive Director of the Dominican College Preaching Program.

“There is a sense of excitement, determination and a heightened  sense of urgency, “ said Gina.  “I believe the students  know with greater clarity than before that they are Dominicans and they are being sent to preach the good news of this organization to others. Like Dominic, they are on fire with the charism and feel compelled to bring that fire to all they encounter.”

Sources: Gina Fleming, OP (Amityville) and Kevin Sullivan





We are striving to [preach the Gospel] by not only preaching through word, but by our actions and specifically emphasizing the importance of social justice as key in our Dominican heritage and in our Catholic faith!"
Amanda Zurface, ODU Student; DYA Social Justice Chair



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